Obama ramping up efforts to overhaul the nation's health care system

President Barack Obama is ramping up his efforts to overhaul the nation's health care system, including devoting his Saturday radio and video address to health reform.

The New York Times leads the Sunday paper with a story headlined "Obama to Force a Greater Role on Health Care," and writes: "After months of insisting he would leave the details to Congress, President Obama has concluded that he must exert greater control over the health care debate and is preparing an intense push for legislation that will include speeches, town-hall-style meetings and much deeper engagement with lawmakers, senior White House officials say ... 'Ultimately, as happened with the recovery act, it will become President Obama's plan,' the White House budget director, Peter R. Orszag, said in an interview. 'I think you will see that evolution occurring over the next few weeks. We will be weighing in more definitively, and you will see him out there'" (Stolberg, 6/6).

The Associated Press: "The White House, backing away from President Barack Obama's 'it's-all-on-the-table' approach initially advocated, prepared to get louder and more involved in the details of a health care overhaul that officials once were content to leave to Congress, administration officials said Saturday.

"The White House's attention increases as Congress turns to a priority that officials watched in recent weeks drift off what has otherwise been a precise pathway. Even with an Obama-imposed August deadline, many administration aides weren't sure just how much they would be able to accomplish before Congress left for the summer, and Obama has turned to his grassroots supporters to pressure Congress to find a solution" (Elliott and Werner, 6/6).

The Washington Post: "Stepping up his push to enact legislation to reform the nation's health-care system, President Obama today declared, 'The status quo is broken,' and he warned that the current system could eventually collapse if nothing is done to control spiraling costs." Obama also said that "the cost of health care is placing an unsustainable burden on personal budgets, small businesses and the federal government'" (Fletcher, 6/6).

Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama, preparing to dive into the health-care debate when he returns from France tomorrow, called the existing system 'unsustainable,' and warned that everyone's coverage is imperiled by rising costs ... Obama said in his regular weekly radio and Internet address, 'If we do nothing, everyone's health care will be put in jeopardy'" (Nichols, 6/6).

Politico: "The address came at the end of a week in which Obama threw more weight behind passing a comprehensive reform bill this year. On Wednesday, he sent a letter to key Democratic senators detailing his positions on various health care proposals for the first time in his presidency. He used it to endorse a public insurance plan, delighting Democrats and disappointing Republicans. Obama made no mention Saturday of the public plan or any other specific proposals. He did, however, allude to the tensions that have begun to emerge" (Brown, 6/6).

Reuters: "Barack Obama may be pressuring Congress as no U.S. president has for decades as he aims to get two big domestic goals passed this year --reforming health care and fighting global warming ... Of the two, health care might be the bill that is more likely to reach Obama's desk for enactment by year's end. Both houses of Congress hope to blend their respective bills into a compromise measure by October -- Obama's deadline... Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said for the next five weeks, the Senate's normal three-day work week will be extended to five so a bill can be passed" (Cowan, 6/7).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for Kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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